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Alameda Citizens Debate Over Winners and Losers in Mif Albright Swap (Part 1)

By Erica Madison

Golf, youth sports, traffic increases, infrastructure pressures and $7.2 million dollars have divided Alameda Citizens; a passionate debate leaves children as the common denominator in the middle of it all.

Section 22-12 of the Alameda City Charter says: public parks cannot be sold without a vote of the public, except when the City Council determines there is another park available.

This little loophole has allowed Harbor Bay Isle Associates (HBIA) to propose selling the nine-hole Mif Albright Golf Course for $7.2 million. In exchange HBIA will give Alameda City 12.2 acres of North Loop Road, which will become the Alameda Youth Foundation sports facility complex.

Patricia Bail who’s President of Alameda Babe Ruth League and the Alameda Youth Foundation says HBIA is also going to give the Alameda Youth Foundation $5 million to run the facility.

Here’s how the money breaks down:

  • From the $7.2 million HBIA gives to the City of Alameda, Alameda will use $3.5 million to develop the sports facility on North Loop Road. This will create two sports facilities, which will include a soccer and football field and a swimming pool. The other $3.5 million goes to The Chuck Corica Golf Complex.
  • HBIA will also give Patricia Bail’s organization (Alameda Youth Sports Foundation) $5 million.
  • Part of this $5 million will be used to operate the sports facility on North Loop Road and another portion will be reserved to build another 50 acre sports facility at Alameda Point.

Bail says she’s pro-Mif swap, because Alameda can’t adequately provide sports fields for its youth. North Loop Road provides something other fields don’t. Mainly it’s a commercial area, which means she can build a field with lights, plus there’s lots of available parking, with no neighbors to complain about the noise. According to Bail, most lit fields are used by adult softball teams. They also don’t have the money to compete with other organizations in terms of accommodating their leagues.

“Within the last twenty years, the sporting community has grown tremendously,” Bail said. “I don’t understand why people say we don’t need more fields. Alameda schools rent out their fields and we don’t have a say in that, because we don’t have the money to pay for it.”

Unfortunately, providing Bail with new sports fields comes at the cost of re-zoning the Mif golf course. Part of the Harbor Bay Isle proposal, is not to tear down the Mif Albright 9-hole Golf course, but to re-zone (move) the Mif and put 130 homes in its place.

But Patricia Bail says she’s not concerned with golf.

“My main issue is not golf. We have 5,000 kids playing sports. The pressure on the infrastructure to provide space is huge. If this doesn’t happen I don’t know what we will do. I don’t know where to get $3 million to build an artificial turf, and all weather facility. East bay regional park funds are dry,” she said.

For Bail, North Loop Road is the only viable option for providing field space for an ever growing youth sports community, and even though she’s open to other suggestions, she believes there aren’t any.

“I don’t know where else to put a football field other than Alameda Point, but it isn’t available. I have been waiting since 1997 for Alameda Point,” she said. “Everyone comes out a winner, why is golf beefing about this?”

[Continue to Part 2]

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